WSJ: Sky Diver Makes Highest Jump Ever
Austrian pilot and sky diver Felix Baumgartner set a world record Sunday for the highest parachute jump, safely landing after leaping from a capsule carried by a helium balloon to an altitude of 128,100 feet, some 24 miles up.
He also broke the sound barrier during his free fall, as he had hoped, reaching a velocity of 833.9 miles an hour—about Mach 1.24—mission officials said. He apparently failed to break the record for the longest free fall.
Riding a red and white parasail, Mr. Baumgartner, 43 years old, touched down on a patch of scrubland near Roswell, N.M. He landed on his feet, then dropped to his knees and pumped his fists in triumph, after breaking the jump record that had stood for 52 years.
The previous high-jump and free-fall records had been set by Joe Kittinger, who jumped safely from a balloon from an altitude of 19.5 miles in 1960.
Mr. Baumgartner’s ascent Sunday on the 55-story-tall helium balloon took more than two hours and set a record for the highest manned balloon ascent, the mission organizers said Sunday. The previous highest altitude for a manned balloon flight was 113,740 feet, set by two U.S. Navy aerialists in 1961.
The jump, sponsored by the Austrian beverage company Red Bull, had been postponed twice in the past week due to high winds. On Sunday, a minor heating problem with the protective face mask on Mr. Baumgartner’s pressure suit had mission controllers briefly worried they might have to abort a third time……Learn More
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